I was that child who wasn’t allowed to watch Are You Afraid of the Dark? because the violent nightmares that occurred as a direct result of me seeing an episode of the show would keep me, and my entire family, up at night. So how can Halloween still be my favourite holiday, you ask? Halloween isn’t just about the ghosts, the ghouls, and the goblins. I think I speak for all of the princesses, the fairies, and the unicorns when I say that there is more to Halloween than gore and guts.
As a chubby child, I looked forward to Halloween each year mostly for the plethora of chocolate I would hopefully receive, but also for the creative costumes and the classic movies which told imaginative adventure stories that may have scared us a bit, but ultimately offered us a sense of solace with a life lesson thrown into the mix. So, in the spirit of the eternal child in all of us, I share with you my top 5 Halloween films for children.
We’ve already seen this film on Meagan’s top 5 list, but it really deserves to be mentioned twice. Halloween isn’t Halloween unless you see Hocus Pocus airing on YTV at least three times. The film tells the story of Max, an angst-ridden teen who despises Halloween. While trying to impress a girl from school, Max accidentally resurrects the Sanderson sisters”“ three evil witches who were condemned 300 years prior in Salem. Together with his younger sister and an immortal black cat, Max must defeat the sisters played by, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and none other than Bette Midler. With the star power in this film, it is no wonder it has become a cult classic.
The term friendly ghost was an oxymoron until the lovable Casper entered our screens and our hearts. I hold this movie solely responsible for helping me to overcome my fear of ghosts (in cartoon form only). Bill Pullman stars as a single father who is hired to get rid of paranormal beings in a haunted mansion where treasure is buried. Christina Ricci stars as Pullman’s daughter who strikes up a close friendship with the youngest ghost, Casper. The sacrifices Casper is forced to make are both heartbreaking and heartwarming. With fun visual effects and cameos by Clint Eastwood and the ever-troubled Mel Gibson, what’s not to love?
Christina Ricci makes an appearance on my list twice, which is fitting since she was a staple of my childhood as the star in all of my favourite films including but not limited to; the two films on this list, Now and Then, and Mermaids. Based on the cartoon television show of the same name, this film saw the wealthy but cooky Addams Family being conned by a crooked accountant looking to steal from the family by hiring a man (played by the oh so funny Christopher Lloyd,) to imposter their long lost Uncle Fester. I lost count of how many times I dressed up as Wednesday for Halloween.
A Halloween list is not complete without a Tim Burton film. His bizarre and eerie style of filmmaking screams Halloween. The film stars Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin who portray a recently deceased married couple who hire a bio-excorcist to get rid of the new family who has moved in. The film has one gag after another, and after years of viewing this film, I can say with absolute certainty, that the jokes don’t get old.
No list of 90s era films could be complete without an Olsen Twin flick. This made for TV movie saw Mary-Kate and Ashley starring as (surprise, surprise) twins who realize their aunt is an evil witch because of a moon stone she is in possession of. Genius, right? They make it their mission to get the stone away from her so that their family can return to its former stable state. You may have stopped reading this post after you read the word Olsen, but this film stars none other than, Cloris Leachman who can do no wrong. Therefore, you should watch this movie.
The best part about all of these films is that they are absolutely brilliant all year round. Happy Halloween!